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After 13 years a Red Devil, Rooney returns to his roots

Soccer

Manchester United's former England soccer captain Wayne Rooney has rejoined his boyhood club Everton on a two-year deal after 13 trophy-laden years at Old Trafford.

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The 31-year-old, who has moved to Goodison Park for an undisclosed fee, spoke of his excitement at returning to a club where he began his career after coming through the youth ranks, saying winning trophies with Everton “would be the pinnacle”.

“I really feel now the club is moving in the right direction, bringing the right calibre of players in. I want to be part of it and hopefully part of a successful Everton team,” Rooney said.

“It’s a great feeling to be back. I’m excited, I cannot wait to meet the lads, get on the training pitch and then get on the pitch to play.

“I’m ecstatic – I just cannot wait to get back playing.”

Rooney netted a stunning winner for Everton against Arsenal on his EPL debut aged 16 and he moved to United two years later for a fee reported to be Stg25 million ($A42.3 million).

Scoring a hat-trick on his United debut against Fenerbahce in the Champions League, Rooney went on to play more than 550 games for the club, netting 253 goals to become their all-time leading scorer.

Rooney’s England debut came under Swede Sven-Goran Eriksson, aged 17, and he became the country’s all-time top scorer with 53 goals and the most capped outfield player with 119 appearances.

At United he won the Champions League, five Premier League titles and the FA Cup and was Footballer of the Year in 2010.

Last season he cut a disconsolate figure at times when he was no longer an automatic selection under manager Jose Mourinho and lost his place in the England squad.

“It is no secret that I have long been an admirer of Wayne,” Mourinho said on United’s website.

“He has been a model professional throughout his time at the club and will remain in the history books for many years to come.

“It is never easy to see a great player playing less football than he would like and I could not stand in his way when he asked to go back to Everton.”

Everton manager Ronald Koeman believes Rooney can make a real contribution to the Merseyside club next season.

“He loves Everton and he was desperate to come back,” the Dutchman said.

“He is still only 31 and I don’t have any doubts about his qualities. It’s fantastic he’s here.”

Everton have been recruiting heavily under Koeman after finishing seventh in the league last season and have bought young England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and central defender Michael Keane, plus Netherlands midfielder Davy Klaasen among others, spending almost Stg90 million ($A152.5 million).

-Reuters

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